Jarad Anthony Higgins (December 2, 1998 – December 8, 2019), known professionally as Juice Wrld (pronounced "juice world"; stylized as Juice WRLD), was an American rapper, singer, and songwriter from Chicago. His song "Lucid Dreams" has been played on the music streaming platform Spotify over one billion times and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. "Lucid Dreams", along with his earlier hit single "All Girls Are the Same", helped him secure a recording contract with Lil Bibby's Grade A Productions and Interscope Records. He derived his stage name from late American rapper Tupac Shakur's role in the film Juice and has stated that it represents taking over the world. He is considered as a leading figure in the emo-rap and SoundCloud rap genres which garnered mainstream attention during the mid-late 2010s.
Jarad Anthony Higgins was born on December 2, 1998, in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in the South Suburbs spending his childhood in Calumet Park and later moving to Homewood, where he attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School and graduated in 2017. His parents divorced when he was three years old, and his father left, leaving his mother to raise him and an older brother as a single parent. Higgins' mother was very religious and conservative, and did not let him listen to hip hop. He was allowed to listen to rock and pop music, however, being introduced to artists including Billy Idol, Blink-182, Black Sabbath, Fall Out Boy, Megadeth and Panic! at the Disco through video games such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Guitar Hero.
Higgins was a heavy drug user during his childhood and teens. He began drinking lean in sixth grade and using percocets and xanax in 2013. Higgins also smoked cigarettes briefly before quitting in his last year of high school because of health issues.
Higgins began to develop as an artist in his first year of high school. His first track, "Forever", was released on SoundCloud in 2015 under the name JuicetheKidd. Higgins recorded most of his first tracks on a cellphone, uploading them to SoundCloud in his sophomore year. He changed his name from JuicetheKidd, a name inspired by his affection for rapper Tupac Shakur's role in the film Juice, to Juice Wrld because he and his associates believed the change would benefit his career. In an interview with the Atlanta radio station WHTA, Higgins revealed that the latter part of his stage name initially had no meaning but that he came to think it "represents taking over the world".
"Too Much Cash", Higgins' first track to be produced by frequent collaborator Nick Mira, was released in 2017. While releasing projects and songs on SoundCloud, Higgins worked in a factory but was dissatisfied with the job; he was fired within two weeks. After joining the internet collective Internet Money, Higgins released his debut full-length EP, 9 9 9, on June 15, 2017, with the song "Lucid Dreams" breaking out and growing his following.
On May 4, 2018, "Lucid Dreams" was officially released as a single and accompanied by a Cole Bennett-directed music video, similarly to "All Girls Are the Same". It peaked at number two on the Hot 100 and quickly became one of the most streamed songs of 2018; it remains his most-streamed song, reaching over one billion streams on Spotify by January 2020. "Lucid Dreams" was followed by "Lean Wit Me" on May 22, which peaked at number 68 on the Hot 100; Higgins' debut full-length album, Goodbye & Good Riddance, which included his three previous singles, released the following day. On June 19, he released a two-song EP titled Too Soon.. in remembrance of, and dedicated to, deceased rappers Lil Peep and XXXTentacion. Lil Peep died of an overdose in 2017 and XXXTentacion was shot and killed during an attempted robbery on June 18, 2018, one day before the project was released. Higgins said that he and XXXTentacion were friends and that they would have FaceTime calls together, revealing that their last conversation was about meeting up. The cover of the Too Soon.. EP is a screenshot of a conversation between Higgins and XXXTentacion. The song "Legends" from the EP debuted at number 65 on the Hot 100 and peaked at number 29 over a year later following Higgins' death.
In December 2017, Higgins released the three-song EP Nothings Different. The project was covered by the hip-hop blog Lyrical Lemonade, with Higgins' track "All Girls Are the Same" gaining popularity through the blog post and an accompanying Cole Bennett-directed music video that was released in February 2018. Following the video's release, Interscope Records signed Higgins for $3 million and a remix featuring Lil Yachty was previewed but never officially released. "All Girls Are the Same" was critically acclaimed, receiving a Best New Music designation from Pitchfork. It was released as a single in April. "All Girls Are the Same" and "Lucid Dreams" were Higgins' first entries on any Billboard chart, debuting on the Hot 100 at numbers 92 and 74, respectively.
Higgins said his musical influences were genre-wide from rock to rap music, and that his biggest influences were rappers Travis Scott, Chief Keef, Kanye West and British rock singer Billy Idol. Billboard writer Michael Saponara claimed, "If West and his sparse 808s were a tree, it would have grown another branch with the blossoming art displayed by fellow Chicago native Juice WRLD in 2018". Higgins was among the ranks of openly vulnerable artists born from the emo rap scene inspired by West's influential fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak (2008). During an interview with All Def Music, Higgins said, "I was singing "Street Lights" like I had shit to be sad about. Kanye [West] is a time traveler. That nigga went to damn near 2015 and came back with some sauce". His other influences included Wu-Tang Clan, Quietdrive, Fall Out Boy, Black Sabbath, the Starting Line, the Cranberries, the City Drive, 2Pac, Eminem, Kid Cudi and Escape the Fate.
Higgins' music has been branded as "emo" and "rock" leaning, "genre-bending" with music focusing on "every broken heart, every wounded feeling". More specifically, he has been labeled as a hip hop, trap, emo rap, and SoundCloud rap artist. With a penchant for short, hook-heavy songs, Higgins seemed a leading figure for the current era of hip-hop. In 2018, the streaming platform Spotify named "emo rap" its fastest growing genre. Higgins achieved arguably the most mainstream success of any artist in the sub-genre. This was boosted by his collaboration with Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie. Higgins himself considered the emo label to be both negative and positive as he felt music sometimes has to be a bit dark to reflect his belief that the world is not really a light or a happy place.
American rapper Ski Mask the Slump God, Higgins' close friend whom he collaborated with on the hit song "Nuketown", said on Twitter "They keep taking my brothers from me", referring also to best friend and longtime collaborator XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed in June 2018. Lil Yachty, who remixed Higgins' song "All Girls Are the Same" mourned his death along with Lil Uzi Vert, Drake, the Weeknd and others.
Travis Scott's song "No Bystanders", from his third studio album, Astroworld, featured Higgins and Sheck Wes. The song peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100. Higgins made his late night television debut performing the song "Lucid Dreams" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on August 8, 2018. On October 15, the music video for the song "Armed and Dangerous" was released followed by the lead single, "Fine China", from the collaborative mixtape, Wrld on Drugs with Future. Epic Records released the mixtape on October 19. He collaborated with American singer Seezyn for the song "Hide" from the film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and its soundtrack, both of which were released on December 14, 2018.
He was living in Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Ally Lotti, at the time of his death. The pair revealed that they were dating via Instagram in November 2018.
In a December 2018 interview with XXL, Ski Mask the Slump God confirmed that he would be releasing a joint mixtape with Higgins titled Evil Twins in 2019; as of 2021, the project has yet to be released. The pair also announced a 2019 tour featuring 30 concerts across North America. Higgins' second studio album, Death Race for Love, was released on March 8, 2019, preceded by the singles "Robbery" and "Hear Me Calling". The album topped the Billboard 200 chart. He then embarked on The Nicki Wrld Tour, alongside Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj. Higgins released the music video for the song "Fast" from Death Race for Love on April 9. Later that year, he released other singles: "All Night" with RM and Suga of BTS; "Hate Me" with Ellie Goulding; "Run"; "Graduation" with Benny Blanco; and "Bandit" with NBA YoungBoy, the last song to be released by Higgins' before his death. It peaked at number ten on the Hot 100.
On January 15, 2021, Higgins' estate released "Bad Boy" featuring Young Thug, which was accompanied by a Cole Bennett-directed music video shot entirely before Higgins' death; this marks the final collaboration between the artist and director before the former's passing. On March 5, "Life's a Mess II", an alternative version of the track "Life's a Mess" from Legends Never Die, featuring Clever and Post Malone was released. On May 28, Higgins' debut full-length album Goodbye & Good Riddance was re-released to commemorate its third anniversary; the re-release includes two new songs, one titled "734" and the other being a remix of "Lucid Dreams" featuring Lil Uzi Vert. The 2018 single "Armed and Dangerous", which was included on the December 2018 Spotify and Tidal reissue of the album, is excluded from the revised tracklist.
Fellow rapper Boosie Badazz suggested that the pilot of the plane was ultimately responsible for Higgins' death, referring to him as a snitch. Higgins had been under suspicion by Federal authorities following an incident that occurred in November 2019 before he departed for Australia which prompted a search of his plane. Badazz gave an interview threatening violence upon the pilot, before later calming down and reflecting on the dangers of young artists suddenly being overwhelmed with money.
On December 8, 2019, Higgins was aboard a private Gulfstream jet flying from Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles to Midway International Airport in Chicago. Law enforcement officers were waiting for the jet to arrive, having been notified by federal agents, while the flight was en route, that they suspected there were guns and drugs on the plane. Law enforcement officials later revealed that they found 70 lb (32 kg) of marijuana on the aircraft and said several members of Higgins' management team aboard the flight told them that Higgins had taken "several unknown pills", including allegedly swallowing multiple Percocet pills to hide them while police were on board the plane searching the luggage.
Higgins then began convulsing and seizing, after which two doses of the emergency medication Narcan were administered as an opioid overdose was suspected. Higgins was transported to the nearby Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead. On January 22, 2020, the Cook County Medical Examiner stated that Higgins died as a result of toxic levels of oxycodone and codeine present in his system. Higgins' funeral was held on December 13, 2019, at the Holy Temple Cathedral Church of God in Christ in Harvey, Illinois. Friends and family were in attendance, including collaborators Ski Mask the Slump God and Young Thug.
On October 23, Lil Bibby confirmed that a second posthumous album was in the works. On December 2, which would have been Higgins' twenty-second birthday, Benny Blanco released a collaborative single titled "Real Shit". Six days later, on December 8, the anniversary of his death, "Reminds Me of You" featuring the Kid Laroi was released. In 2020, Higgins was streamed on Spotify over 5.9 billion times, making him the fourth most streamed artist in the world.
Higgins' first posthumous appearance was on Eminem's eleventh studio album Music to Be Murdered By on the track "Godzilla", released on January 17, 2020. "Godzilla" peaked at number three on the Hot 100 and number one on the UK Singles Chart. On January 22, an announcement was posted on Higgins' Instagram account by members of his family and the team at Grade A Productions which thanked fans for their adoration for Higgins and confirmed their intention to release music that he was working on at the time of his death.
In his song, "Legends"—which was dedicated to XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed in mid-2018 at age 20, and Lil Peep, who overdosed in late 2017 at age 21—Higgins raps "What's the 27 Club? / We ain't making it past 21". Fans and media outlets commented that he had predicted his own death, as he had died only days after his twenty-first birthday.